Find Your United Way Donate
United Way Blog

United Way Participates in White House Summit on Community Solutions for Disconnected Youth

United Way Worldwide's Peter Hahn is at the White House today and sent over the following:

Today at the White House, representatives from United Way will participate in the White House Summit on Community Solutions for Disconnected Youth. Tune in for the opening of the Summit, 1:15 – 2:30pm ET. Speakers will include First Lady Michelle Obama (by video) and U.S. Secretary of Labor Hilda Solis, as well as a discussion on expanding successful cross-sector community collaborations. Visit: http://www.whitehouse.gov/live.

Over the past few months, United Ways in nearly three dozen communities hosted more than 125 community conversations focused on creating opportunities disconnected youth. The findings are included in a new report released by the White House Council for Community Solutions today.

People in general, and particularly young people, feel isolated, even at a time when social media seemingly has us connected 24 hours a day. In one community, a young people even framed it as feeling like they had been abandoned by their parents’ generation. Young people don’t know where to turn and feel on their own to figure it all out. Also, when people were asked about solutions, they didn’t jump to things institutions could do. The government, businesses, nonprofits, even United Way were largely absent from the discussions. People talked a lot about the need for they themselves to step forward, reach out to neighbors, take steps where they could to create opportunity.

Where the learning from these conversations has been shared with leaders, actions are taking shape.

  • In San Francisco, community conversations took place with everyday people from all walks of life as well as leaders from across sectors. Those efforts have helped catalyze broad commitments to helping young people find employment opportunities and other supports. Companies in the region pledged to create more than 350 summer jobs to get the ball rolling at the time we put our report together and I’m sure more by now.
  • In Washington, DC, United Way is convening a collaborative of nonprofits, businesses, and government leaders looking at issues related to disconnected youth in DC, Maryland, and VA. This task force is using what it learned from community conversations to hone in on a set of strategies for collectively addressing the education and employment challenges disconnected youth face.
  • And in Seattle, United Way and its convening partner, the Seattle Foundation, are also working with a cross-sector group to develop strategies for connecting young people to jobs and educational opportunities based on findings from community conversations they organized as part of a mass gathering that included nearly 150 people from all walks of life.
  • In other communities, United Ways and their partners are using what they learned from these conversations to improve work already underway and to help shape new strategies and cross-sector collaboration. Most importantly though, it’s brought people who before were largely disengaged into the conversation on what to do and has helped excite people that we have the ability to find a way to make a difference.

United Way Worldwide congratulates all of the local United Ways that participated in this project and thanks all of the young people and community leaders who shared their aspirations for a better life for all.